Bill would require educators to tell parents of use of isolation, restraints

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 20 at 7:01 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- If a student poses a risk to themselves or others at a school, state law allows educators to use physical restraints or isolation rooms to try to calm the student down.

However, the school is not required to tell a parent when those methods are used.

Mary Griffin, a Seattle mother, is backing a law that would change that.

"Parents are supposed to be partners in their children's education," said Griffin.

Griffin testified in favor of House Bill 1688 last week.

It would require educators contact a parent within two days of any isolation techniques or use of restraints on that parent's child.

Griffin said her son was repeatedly restrained and isolated, without her knowledge, at Seattle's B.F. Day Elementary School in 2009.

Her adopted son had been abused by his birth family. Griffin said he was in the special education program because he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The director of special education for Seattle Public Schools would not discuss the details of what happened to Griffin's son in 2009.

But Stacey McCrath-Smith said since then, the district has removed the doors from their isolation rooms, which are now considered "chill down" rooms.

McCrath-Smith said parents are also notified now whenever any restraints are used on a child.

HB 1688 is due for a vote in the House Education Committee Thursday.

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